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  The Herman Trend Alert

May 23, 2007

Baby Boomers Re-careering

A recent study released by Los Angeles-based Korn/Ferry International, best known for its work in the recruitment field, echoes the message we have delivered for years regarding executive Baby Boomers and retirement. (See trend alerts from 10/9/02 and 9/12/01.) The massive retirements we expect from the Boomer generation wonít reduce the talent pool. Instead, Baby Boomers are looking at what Joe Griesedieck, vice chairman of Korn/Ferry calls "re-careering."

Their study titled "The Executive Recruiter Index" released just last month, reports that traditional retirement may be gone forever. According to this report, many Baby Boomers are putting off retiring, choosing instead to stay in the workforce and pursue other opportunities.

The demand for skilled labor has never been higher. In this study, 58 percent of their recruiters report an increase in the number of experienced executives changing professions. Companies facing shrinking labor pools, due to the reduced number of folks in Generation X and lack of training during the economic slowdown, should be increasingly concerned about the large numbers of older workers now reaching the typical retirement age.

The good news is most Baby Boomers simply donít want to retire, at least not in the traditional sense. They are much more interested in re-careering. Hereís why:

  • 22 percent are bored with the mere thought of retirement. They donít want to sit on front porch in the rocking chair and wait for the grim reaper.
  • 21 percent have a need to be productive. Their parents taught them, "You must be a contributing member of society."
  • 20 percent reported needing to have an intellectual challenge.
  • 13 percent have insufficient savings. We actually expected this figure to be much higher, many are reluctant to admit their poor financial judgment or perhaps it is because this study focuses on executives who planned their financial futures more carefully.
  • 13 percent find they need the personal interaction.

Re-careering executives are choosing entrepreneurship, consulting, volunteering, or some combination of pursuits. "While this (shift) won't cure the impending talent crunch, it will provide more opportunity for younger executives to learn from Baby Boomers before they retire completely".

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